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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2005 Sep;87(5):361-5.

Subintimal angioplasty for superficial femoral artery occlusion: poor patency in critical ischaemia.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, UK.



Subintimal angioplasty has been proposed for the treatment of long segment occlusive disease and for patients with critical limb ischaemia (CLI) with significant co-morbidity. There is no consensus as to short- and long-term patency. We present our experience with this technique.


Between 1995 and 2000, 43 consecutive patients (48 limbs) underwent subintimal angioplasty for superficial femoral artery occlusions. Outcome measures were haemodynamic and/or symptomatic patency.


Technical success was achieved in 14/17 limbs with CLI (82%) and 30/31 (97%) with intermittent claudication (IC). There were 7 complications (15%), 6 occurring in the claudicant group. The median occlusion length was 10 cm for CLI and 6 cm for IC. Patency at 12 and 36 months, on an intention-to-treat basis, was 69% and 58% for claudicants and 25% and 25% for patients with CLI (P = 0.0005 and P = 0.0044, respectively). Following only technically successful procedures, 12-month patency was 72% (IC) and 31% (CLI) (P = 0.009). Patients with occlusions > or = 10 cm were more likely to re-occlude than those < 10 cm (12-month patency 60% versus 25%;P = 0.037).


In this series, short- and long-term patency in patients with CLI is poor. Subintimal angioplasty in the treatment of CLI should be reserved for those patients not fit for surgical bypass.

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